After almost three quarters of a century, World War II veteran Joseph Aquilante, 91, of North Providence, R.I. finally received his service medals.

Like many of the men he served with, Aquilante was eager to get home after the war ended, and left the military without collecting the medals he had earned.

On May 15, 2017, that oversight was resolved.

Aquilante, part of the “greatest generation” received the Good Conduct Medal, Asiatic-Pacific Campaign Medal, WWII Victory Medal and Army of Occupational Medal from U.S. Sen. Jack Reed.

At his advanced age, Aquilante thought that it would nice to leave the medals for his two grandchildren and four great-grandchildren. In March, as he was celebrating his 91st birthday, he asked his daughter, Sally Veltri, to enlist the help of Sen. Reed’s office.

Senator Reed was instrumental in helping Joseph Aquilante, as well as other veterans, obtain the medals they earned.

Aquilante was drafted in 1944 at the age of 18 into the U.S. Army.  He spent most of his two years of service in the Pacific.  His mission was to report on new developments in Japan and retrieve Japanese aircraft from airfields for technical knowledge.

After the war, Aquilante returned to Rhode Island, married, began his career as an auto mechanic and had three children.  Ten years ago, he lost his wife Elsie after 60 years of marriage.

Each medal is significant and holds special meaning for him. And now his family will have tangible evidence of his military legacy.